NFL

The Beginning of the End for Chicago? 

San Francisco may have punched their ticket out of the playoff discussion after last Sunday’s 30-18 loss to the Colts dropped them to 2-4 on the season.

The Bears know the feeling, hanging on by a thread at 3-4 and losers of two straight. The theme in this game for Week 8 is quarterback play – or lack thereof.

BetOnline and Bovada both have San Francisco as a -4 point favorite on the road Sunday. It appears sportsbooks think 49ers QB Jimmy Garoppolo is the lesser of two evils compared to the Bears rookie Justin Fields.

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Should 49ers Be Favored Over Anybody? 

It does seem somewhat strange to have the 49ers favored on Sunday, even as a West Coast team making the trip East for a 1:00 PM ET early start. San Francisco was also embarrassed 30-18 in front of a national audience against the Colts on Sunday Night Football, although to be fair, the weather conditions were very wet and rainy.

It would appear that Garoppolo’s time as San Francisco’s starter is coming to an end, as he had 181 yards passing with 1 TD and 2 INT last week. Yes, that was in wet conditions, but Colts QB Carson Wentz went 17/26 for 150 yards and 2 TD with 0 INT. 

One reason the 49ers’ betting odds seem a bit off is because this game could easily turn into a battle of rookie QBs, depending on the health of San Francisco’s Trey Lance. Lance, the #3 pick in the draft, is completing 52.1% of his passes on the year with 3TD and 1 INT but is also questionable with a knee injury. 

Maybe the 49ers stick with Garoppolo, who is in a homecoming game after growing up in nearby Arlington Heights, IL.

Bears Get a QB Break 

Chicago has lost two straight, but that’s usually what’s going to happen when you face Aaron Rodgers and Tom Brady in consecutive weeks. The Bears’ defense held their own in each, limiting Rodgers to 195 yards and Brady to 211, but that duo also had 6 TD passes and 0 INT. 

Mack going on the shelf and uncertainty about Quinn as well as DL Akiem Hicks (groin) means Chicago may actually have to rely on their offense for once. San Francisco ranks #5 defensively vs. the pass, but that’s not a problem considering Chicago is the worst passing offense in the league and only throws out of necessity. 

Sunday’s game is going to be decided in the trenches, and the Bears have to like the numbers rookie RB Khalil Herbert has put up the last two weeks with 97 yards and a TD vs. Green Bay and 100 yards on just 18 carries vs. the Buccaneers. 

Can the Bears win basically without a QB though? Fields is obviously going to have some struggles in his rookie season, but he seems to be regressing in completing just 44% of his passes last week with 0 TD and 3 INT. 

49ers at Bears Pick 

Sportsbooks must know something in this game to make San Francisco a -4 point road favorite. The injury to Mack definitely hurts Chicago, as does the uncertainty surrounding the status of other key players. 

Maybe what oddsmakers are really taking into account here is that Chicago players have just checked out for the year. They looked disinterested in Tampa Bay last weekend and have had to game plan via Zoom this week after coach Matt Nagy tested positive for COVID. Halas Hall is a mess, and San Francisco can take advantage of that.

If you are going to bet online, take the 49ers as one of your NFL picks this week!

Pick: 49ers -4

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